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Klopp Plays Down Benteke Row Rumours

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Following Sunday’s loss to Southampton, the media began to spin a brief discussion with Christian Benteke into something serious, but manager Jürgen Klopp says there was nothing in it.

Southampton v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Liverpool’s defence falling to pieces gifted Southampton three second half goals and all three points in a game the Reds had looked firm favourites to win. It all might have gone rather differently, though, had struggling striker Christian Benteke taken his chance to put Liverpool 3-1 ahead in the second half.

A goal by the £32.5M man would have knocked Southampton back when their confidence was growing. It would have swung momentum in Liverpool’s favour. It would have, in all likelihood, led to Liverpool taking all three points. After the match, manager Jürgen Klopp seemed upset about Benteke’s latest one-on-one miss.

In turn, that has led to Klopp’s first major criticism in the English media, with Match of the Day pundits Alan Shearer and former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy criticizing the manager for appearing to tell off Benteke. A handful of papers have also suggested it is the bad side of Klopp’s at times voluble personality.

"You have to accept when you can’t close the game out it can change," was Klopp’s own take following the match, adding that the exchange wasn’t serious. "I didn’t say ‘why didn’t you use the chance?’ No. It’s just sometimes we have to talk with players. That’s my job, and so now he is going off with the national team."

Whether the reality of Klopp’s brief exchange with Benteke following the loss was closer to the media’s take or Klopp’s own, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine a future at Liverpool for Benteke, who has made a habit of missing one-on-one chances this season and continues to struggle to integrate into the side.

Meanwhile, reports in recent weeks have claimed that West Ham are interested in Benteke and would be willing to pay upwards of £20M to take him off Liverpool’s hands in the summer, though his high wages—around £120k per week—are a sticking point.